Optimism & Upside: Inside the 2018 IPCC on Climate Report

Optimism & Upside: Inside the 2018 IPCC on Climate Report
October 31, 2018 Lily Backer

Is it just us? Or does it seem like there’s a major climate announcement coming out just about every month?

While much of the news warns doom and gloom, we’re encouraged to see many optimistic and active calls for addressing climate change in a profitable way. After all, it was only a few months back that we reflected on 1 Year After the Paris Pull-Out — and now a compelling report on The New Climate Economy sees evidence that “we are entering a new era of economic growth.”

This quote, in particular, resonates with us, as it almost paraphrases our mission statement:

“The evidence today of the potential economic benefits are even greater than before, and the downside risks of inaction on climate change are even more stark.”

But perhaps the biggest news came in the form of the United Nations Special Report, a significant body of work with much to unpack.

Here’s Why We Are Still Optimists

This year’s IPCC report is different in that it not only delivers the bad news (again) but in sounding the alarm bells, its authors lay out an actionable strategy for dealing with our warming planet:

  • Humanity must begin now to rapidly switch away from fossil fuels.
  • The level of carbon released into the atmosphere every year must begin to fall immediately, cutting emissions in half by 2030.
  • But with the “rapid and far-reaching” transitions required — in buildings, industry, cities, land, transport and energy — limiting global warming can go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.

Wrapped inside the moral and humanitarian motivations, we see opportunity in the power of the profit motive to change behaviors and ignite the will to do more.

Prioritizing carbon reduction is now significantly profitable for businesses, and our clients — from Manhattan to Honolulu — view climate change as a risk to be managed, and energy waste as a financial product to be leveraged:

And with our third and largest project financing to date, a $65 million fund with Generate Capital, we are poised to help more businesses and other organizations combat climate change:

  • Small businesses are often least able to finance their sustainability and efficiency goals, and they are most vulnerable to the greater frequency of extreme weather events wrought by climate change
  • Non-profits already face challenges in allocating their funding to do the most good, and yet even if sustainable practices are integral to their missions, financing these steps to energy efficiency drains their limited resources

Don’t take our word for it — look to our recent coverage by Bloomberg and the SF Business Times, as well as Fortune, Lodging Magazine, Globe Street and Impact Alpha talking about how we’re helping to stop climate change by making it easy and profitable for building owners to turn energy waste into financial value.

Bottom Line: We’ve Got The Right Tools, And We Can Do It.

We’re already using our unique Efficiency Production approach to eliminate the nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions created by buildings — more than any other sector* — in the U.S. alone.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5ºC are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate.”

— Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I

The Trump administration might not accept the reality that climate action can be profitable, but we’re proving that it is.

The fact that Carbon Lighthouse can literally hand building owners money to do the right thing is a critical factor in making climate action count.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges humans have ever faced, and while the high stakes make it seem even more daunting, we already have the tools we need to get this problem solved — and in a profitable way.


*U.S. Green Building Council



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